Boris Johnson has rapidly morphed from being Westminster’s own in-house buffoon to becoming a dangerous political hatchet man.
If his brutal “suicide vest” attack on the Prime Minister’s Chequers proposals for Brexit is not a barefaced attempt to oust her from power, what on earth else can it be? His comments were denounced as “disgusting” by more than one Tory MP, as the bitter civil war in the party ratcheted up a few more notches.
It is difficult to see how Johnson’s political savagery has any other purpose than to create a vacancy at 10 Downing Street, which he is yearning to fill.
However, Theresa May, outwardly at least, is showing no signs of being shaken by these attacks, or by the voracious vultures circling above her head.
“I am in it for the long term,” she says calmly.
But if she is driven out, there are more wannabes than merely Boris.
Waiting in the wings are Chancellor Philip Hammond, although he is not exactly a Tory pin-up, the irrepressible Liam Fox, International Trade Secretary, and even the youthful but highly accomplished Penny Mordaunt, International Development Secretary, who has shown her disdain for the “political elite”.
But what about Ruth Davidson, the lively Scottish Tory leader?
If a seat could be found for her at Westminster (no problem that), she would lend a freshness to the Tory Party. She has the capacity, too, to grab the Tories by the scruff of the neck and sort them out.
But we shall have to see whether Theresa May is as good as her word. She is echoing what Harold Wilson famously said years ago when he discovered a back-bench plot against him: “I know what is going on. I am going on.”
n Refreshing to see that Theresa May, amid all her troubles, still has time for a smile and a spot of self-deprecation. Her ‘dancing’ efforts during her Africa trip attracted much derision. But she has sent a message to Strictly Come Dancing: “Get in touch if you need any tips.”